May 21, 2024

Whole Community News

From Kalapuya lands in the Willamette watershed

UO faculty and staff members, Eugene Greens support pro-Palestinian student demonstrators

3 min read
Justin Filip: If the UO wants the students to end their encampment, my suggestion would be, rather than emailing veiled threats, to simply meet their demands. They’re reasonable and they’re right.

by Justin Filip, Pacific Green Party, University of Oregon

The Eugene chapter of the Pacific Green Party of Oregon stands in solidarity with student demonstrators at the University of Oregon.

Students are demanding the University divest $2.8 billion that have been funneled into weapon manufacturing companies and to condemn the genocide against Palestinians.

They further demand formal protections for students and staff to speak their support for Palestine and to end all academic exchanges and relations with Israeli universities.

Martin Luther King said in 1964, “We do not need allies more devoted to order than to justice.” Sixty years later, his words remain relevant. UO issued a statement that read in part, “safety is the University’s top priority.” The safety of whom? Certainly not the safety of the Palestinian people.

As the students at Harvard pointed out, “There are no remaining universities in Gaza. The genocide of Palestinians is far more disruptive to education than anything (Oregon) students have done, but about this violence the University is completely silent. In fact, the University remains materially invested in the occupation and genocide.”

Can we respect academic institutions that put their investments before people’s lives? Don’t land acknowledgements ring hollow when we say nothing about an ethnic cleansing taking place in the present?

Locally, and as a member of the Springfield-Eugene Anti-Imperialist Coalition, Eugene Greens have taken part in protests for months. I was also present at the UO Board of Trustees meeting in March when student after student spoke to the Board asking them to divest. But the University has completely dismissed those requests.

President Scholz has an opportunity to be a leader and to stand on the right side of history. If the UO wants the students to end their encampment, my suggestion would be, rather than emailing veiled threats, to simply meet their demands. They’re reasonable and they’re right.

It is time for the University to search its collective conscience and show its commitment. My hope is that the UO will make me proud of my alma mater. I’m already proud of the commitment our students have demonstrated.

A few of us have started a faculty/staff ally group and we’re exploring ways that we can help support the students. Any faculty/staff interested in getting involved can email me for more details (I’m in the directory.)

Justin Filip organized a rally at Portland State University earlier this year for presidential candidate Jill Stein, who is seeking the nomination of the Green Party. Stein was arrested April 27 while supporting participants during a peaceful pro-Palestinian demonstration on the campus of Washington University in St. Louis.

“I was there to support the students and community members who were holding a peaceful, really wonderful, gracious, educational community gathering,” Dr. Stein said in a video interview. “The police basically attacked us and assaulted us as well as arrested us… Zionism is something that needs to be debated and anti-Zionism is not the same as anti-Semitism.” She has called the crackdown on protesters nationwide a violation of fundamental First Amendment rights. She told an interviewer for a radio station: “This is about freedom of speech, and not just any old freedom of speech, but freedom of speech on a very critical issue that needs debate and dialogue.” 

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